Artificial Heart: The SynCardia artificial heart has already been used in 1250 patients awaiting a heart transplant. The FDA just gave SynCardia the green light to study whether the device could be a permanent solution in people for whom transplant isn’t an option. This is a very interesting breakthrough as I patented a type of artificial heart in 1967 and worked in the heart field for a number of years developing about 11 devices, one of which made it into commercial use ‘The Intra-aortic balloon Pump’ which is now in every coronary care unit in the world. Now a similar device which is implanted into patients “Left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) are becoming an increasingly viable alternative therapy for heart failure, either as a bridge to heart transplantation (BTT) or destination therapy (DT). The LAVD has become increasingly popular in recent years, in the face of a donor organ shortage and a rise in elderly patients ineligible for heart transplants. For these patients in particular, device durability is a key contributor to survival, morbidity, and quality of life”.
3-D Printing: of a heart is on the horizon, possibly in 5-10 years. A skeleton of collegian is laid down and then fat cells containing stem cells creates myocardial cells which fit into the shape of the skeleton created by the 3-D printing system. This was shown on CNN’s this past Sunday morning. Imagine, getting a new heart when the old one just wears out.
3-D Printing: of cartilage that can be used to replace the meniscus of the knee. This is one of the most common injuries occurring from sports, running, skiing and almost any injury of a knee joint. Now, these meniscus are removed and in almost all situations, these injuries lead to degenerative joint disease and crippling arthritis in many people.
Artificial limbs: are starting to work directly from the brain with thought propulsion activating the limb for walking or hand movements. This will be miraculous for Vets who have lost limbs or for those who have become paralyzed from almost any cause. Christopher Reeves would be smiling at these advances.
A Hand That Can Feel: a European Union effort to develop advanced prosthetic hands, has created one of the world’s most advanced artificial hands—one that can feel objects. When recipients grasp an object, hand sensors that are linked with nerves in the upper arm allow them to tell what it is. It will still take a few years to make it to market.
Retinal Implants: “About 100 people worldwide have now received the Argus® II retinal prosthesis system. This “bionic eye” uses a tiny camera mounted on a pair of glasses that sends images to a retinal implant via a small conductor. The device does not restore sight completely, but it does allow patients who have lost their vision to make out shapes and distinguish between light and dark areas”.